The Barbarous King
The Copelands are making their way to Idaho when they come to a blockade set up by a merry band of rabble-rousers. Karen quickly neutralizes the threat, wresting the gun out of the gang leader's grasp. Turns out, he's not just ANY gang leader. He's Grandpa Ewan…her dear old, estranged daddy. In end days, Ewan's been keeping busy: maintaining his own community of vigilantes at a homestead with food and entertainment, and cooking up tetracycline in a makeshift laboratory, which he sells to sick people. It's a great business model. Grandpa is delighted to have his daughter and grandkids around (not so much Josh), and wants them to stay. Forever.
Slow down there, sparky: not all is well in paradise. Turns out, Grandpa's keeping secret that the tetracycline that his chemist has been making is cut with something gnarly, and it's killing the locals. In turn, the townsfolk are starting to complain, and disrupting the supplies of ethanol — a main ingredient in tetra — to the camp. Grandpa sends Matt (his "warrior" grandson), Raif and Scott (his right handers), and sibling rivals Brianna and Dana to the town watering hole to ruffle some feathers. But when they all arrive at Harry's Bar, the owner (his name is on the sign) is dead on arrival. The team doesn't know it, but a shapeshifter has gutted Harry like a fish.
Back at Camp Grandpa, Josh is poking around the grounds alone when he sees two of Ewan's goons dump the body of a man poisoned by the tetra into a place called the "Dead Shed" — so called because there's a lot of dead people in that shed. But Josh isn't able to get a long look before he's clocked on the head with a shovel. When he wakes up, he's in the lab getting grilled by Ewan; and when Grandpa realizes his son-in-law knows too much, he orders his death. Grandpa's hit man, The Goat, stuffs a dose of peyote in Josh's mouth (to ease the ensuing pain) before taking him out to the middle of nowheresville. Both of them tripping out hard, The Goat is about to knock of Josh's head with a bat when Josh pulls out a knife to defeat his foe. Still tripping out hard, Josh ambles back to Camp Grandpa when a hallucination stops him in his tracks: it's his dead father telling him that he thinks Josh is an adept. What an adept is, no one has a freaking clue. But thanks, dad!
Meanwhile at Dead Harry's Bar, Dana is getting sick and tired of Brianna treating her like a child, especially when her older sister shows no self-restraint herself. Brianna storms away, steals Scott's pickup truck, and hits the road. The same shapeshifter who killed Harry earlier hijacks Brianna's ride, and her skin, and returns to the bar…looking to kill. When she arrives, she slits Scott's throat. She is QUICK. Brianna returns, and engages in hand-to-hand combat with her twinsy (it's a little like The Parent Trap). Karen and Grandpa show up at the bar, and Dana, who knows how her real sister fights, is able to shoot dead the impostor with confidence. When they return to Camp Grandpa, Josh tells Karen all about Ewan's shady drug dealings, the cover up, and, oh yeah, the hit he put on his head. All Grandpa wanted was to have his family together in one, post-apocalyptic place. That dream died when, rightfully, Karen and Josh take their family far away from that strange place. But once aboard the RV, the family encounters another set back – Josh is coughing up blood. Uh oh…